A few days after the 2012 St. Charles County Republican Presidential Caucus ended badly, a member of the St. Charles County GOP Central Committee shared with me the content of an email message that was sent to members by Chair Eugene Dokes early Wednesday morning. Attached to the message, the subject of which was “Re: A second Caucus or…,” was a letter that Dokes explained “was actually drafted by Santorum’s campaign team.”
Addressed to Missouri Republican Party Chairman David Cole, Vice Chairman Susie Eckelkamp and Executive Director Lloyd Smith, the letter featured blanks prepared for the signatures of Dokes and County GOP Central Committee Vice Chair Penny Henke, the two top-ranking officials on the GOP central committee.
The content of the letter (download PDF), dated March 22, 2012, appears below with only minor format modifications:
Dear GOP Leaders:
On behalf of the St. Charles County GOP Central Committee (“Central Committee”), we submit this letter to you informing you that the Central Committee has voted not to conduct another caucus for the purpose of selecting delegates to the Missouri state GOP convention. We have made this decision due to our concerns regarding the safety and security of attendees and because we do not believe it is fair to those who attended last Saturday’s caucus in good faith. In 2008, our St. Charles County delegation was decertified at the district convention and we had no voice in the selection of our party’s candidate. Again this year, certain forces colluded to disrupt our county caucuses, threatened those in attendance and succeeded in forcing an abrupt end to the proceedings before delegates could be allocated or elected.
We believe that it wholly unnecessary and grossly unfair to those who did not disrupt the proceedings to conduct another caucus. We offer two options for allocating the delegates that would have been chosen at last Saturday’s caucus:
1. Allocate the delegates based on the congressional district results of the 2012 Missouri presidential preference primary, or
2. Allocate the delegates based on the preferences of those who signed in at the caucus meeting on Saturday, March 17, 2012.
Either formula will award delegates proportionally based on the preferences either of all primary voters or of those who actually attended the caucus meeting.
There is no need for another attempt at a caucus and we oppose any effort to force such an event.
We believe that the delegates can be allocated fairly based on publicly available information and that once awarded, the delegates should be selected by the respective candidates from those who signed in as attending the caucus meeting last Saturday.
It is completely inappropriate to reward the disruptive forces for their misbehavior. We believe the recommend approach is far better and we urge the state party to direct us as to which of the above options it approves for the allocation of delegates from this district.
Please contact the undersigned if you have any questions. It is not our intent to conduct a new caucus and we urge you to discard that as an option. Thank you.
St. Charles County Central Committee
Eugene Dokes , Chairman
Penny Henke, Vice-Chairman
In the same paragraph of that message in which Dokes revealed the general identity of the author of the letter, Dokes wrote, “I didn’t say that before because I wanted the content of the letter to be the focus not- where it came from.” In saying “before,” he was referring to several email messages exchanged Wednesday between central committee members.
It was in one of those messages (below) that Dokes appeared to answer the question of whether or not he and Central Committee Vice Chair Penny Henke will sign that letter:
I want to share a letter that was drafted today by someone and passed to me and Penny to sign. Penny, myself and Bryan will be meeting with David Cole Thursday to discuss all of the details of our recent caucus. We will also discuss what to do next. One person who thinks its best not to do a caucus has prepared this for Penny and I to sign and I want to get your opinion on it. Personally, I agree with the letter but I want to get all of your thoughts on it.
UPDATE 3/22/12 at 5:48 p.m. Central: Preliminary indications are that another caucus will be held, according to this article.
UPDATE 3/23/12: Check out my latest update published today under the headline, Source, Phone Message Revealed in St. Charles County Republican Central Committee Scandal.
UPDATE 3/23/12 Almost Noon Central: The St. Louis Post-Dispatch just reported that a new caucus will be held April 10 at 7 p.m. at the St. Charles Convention Center and that recording devices will be allowed.
UPDATE 4/11/12 at 7:28 a.m. Central: Ron Paul wins do-over St. Charles County caucus.